With a plan in place to possibly resume the NHL season with a 24-team playoff, there is optimism that fans in the State of Hockey will get to see the Minnesota Wild compete against the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-five qualifying round.
Sports of any kind is a bonus at this point, but the new playoff format could have a big impact on Minnesota's not-so-distant future because it could mean the Wild have to wait an extra year to obtain the first-round pick they got in the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
while the Wild and Canucks go head-to-head in the qualifying round, so will the Penguins and Montreal Canadiens. And here's the kicker: If the Penguins don't win that series, they could get to hold off on sending the Wild that first-round pick until 2021, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo.
Had the season not been stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh would've been a near lock to stay out of the lottery. But because the pick is lottery-protected, a loss in the qualifying round automatically places the Penguins into the lottery, allowing them to keep the pick.
The new/temporary NHL format features the NHL Draft Lottery being held June 26. It'll feature 15 teams, including the seven who aren't in the 24-team playoff and the eight teams that get bounced in the qualifying round.
There's still much to be determined with the lottery process, and you can read more about it via The Athletic right here.
Regardless, the Wild will own their 2020 first-round selection in what's considered a very, very deep draft class. Couple that with the Pittsburgh pick, if they get it, and the highly anticipated arrival of Kirill Kaprizov, and all of a sudden the Wild could be looking like a team on the rise in the near term.